With fall upon us, you may think that your landscaping work is done for the season. Sorry; there are still some jobs left that we lump under “Fall Clean-Up.” They include weeding, mulching and removing any debris.
Weeding needs to continue until the plants go dormant. It behooves you to keep up with it because weeds are dropping seeds now. If you don’t remove the plants before they drop their seeds, pulling weeds will be your first job next spring. Not only will you have to remove the dead weeds from this season, you’ll have to remove new weeds that overwintered in the ground and germinated first thing in spring. Weeds appear before most of your desired plants.
After weeding, your next task should be mulching. Mulch provides a number of benefits. It suppresses weed growth and moderates the soil temperature and moisture. A winter layer of 3 or 4 inches will smother many weed seeds. Mulch also insulates the soil, reducing the amount of cold air reaching plant roots. And, it holds moisture, releasing it over time so your soil doesn’t become saturated in a heavy rainstorm or fast snow melt.
If you add mulch for winter, don’t forget to remove an inch or so in spring to bring the depth to 2 or 3 inches. That’s all you need for the spring and summer.
Even if you’ve kept your yard clear of debris all summer, there could be an accumulation during the fall. The wind begins picking up as the weather declines, and it often brings debris with it. Debris from the street and neighborhood may end up in your yard. If you don’t pick it up and dispose of it now, it will still be there when the snow melts in spring.
While you’re in the fall cleanup spirit, you might as well do the other tasks to prepare for winter, including getting rid of fallen leaves, putting your deck or patio furniture in storage, and critter-proofing trees and shrubs.
With all of these task behind you, the arrival of winter weather won’t have you fretting about all the work left to do.